Branding Basics

Typography The Writing On The Wall

There’s a lot to be said here that most people don’t ever, consciously, think about.  

typeface anatomy

As with color, there are layers of complexity to typography.  We get it.  Most people don’t think about this stuff.  Well, don’t worry—if you’re one of our prospective branding clients, you’ll have a much greater awareness of this subject by the time you’re presented with your brand style guide.  In the meantime, here’s a quick tip:


Ok, you probably already knew that but you might wonder WHY is it such a bad thing?

Well, in short: comic sans is an ilegibily unmodulated, disproportionate and irational mismanagement of visual weight and texture that renders text unbalanced and unreadable.

But mostly, because LOTS of people seem to really like it…

Type is to text as voice is to speech.  Whether they notice it or not, most people visually perceive grouped sets of words as a whole, similar to visual art.  The right set of fonts gives your content (both digital and print) style and personality beyond the message being delivered.  Misused fonts and mismatched font pairings will tell a story as well.

When it comes to branding, there’s:

who you are

who you think you are

who you want to be

how others see you

Some Terminology

Typography is the art of arranging printed letters and words in a way that is legible and visually appealing to the reader. 

A typeface (type) or font family is a collection of unique characters, with certain shapes (glyphs) shared across the characters, forming patterns that are selected for style, legibility and readability.

Font refers to the weights, widths and styles that make up the typeface.

Types are generally classified by the inclusion or exclusion of small projections at the beginning or end of the character strokes.  Serif type has them, san serif doesn’t. 

All characters in a monospace type have the same width. 

Handwriting type is derived from or mimics natural handwriting. 

Display type is typically suitable only at large point sizes. 

There are additional layers that categorize such specifics as letter-spacing (tracking), line height/length and others.

In general, the combination of font families you choose should be legible in a wide range of sizes and versatile, with a suitable variety of weights and full list of characters.  Your type should also be distinctive and should compliment your brand personality.

This is not guesswork!

Our branding process (typically undertaken as part of a branding or rebranding project) involves research, analysis, testing and refining to determine your typography.  Your brand style guide will include a detailed explanation of your font family, fonts, weights and styles, with usage guidelines.

Typography is just one piece of the branding pie.  We take just as much care when developing all the rest of the audio-visual elements that define how customers will perceive your business.

P.S.: the symbol at the top of this page is Japanese Kanji depicting the word “Dream”.

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